Ramon Stephens ('16), alumnus of the College of Education’s master’s degree in Social & Cultural Analysis of Education shares his experience about the program.
How has obtaining this degree and/or credential positively affected your employment experiences and life overall?
This degree pretty much changed the trajectory of my career in a very positive way. Prior to this program, I simply wanted to do some type of social justice work within education. My experience in SCAE refined both my professional and career goals, helping me to understand both exactly what I wanted to do and how to achieve my goals. To this day, the continued support and expertise from faculty and students continue to shape and support my personal and professional path.
Where are you currently working and what is your title/position? Please also include a brief description of your job, if necessary. Please also let us know if you have earned, or are in the process of earning an additional degree or credential since you finished this program. If so, what is it, when earned (or will be earned), and from where?
Since graduating from SCAE I became a Ph.D. student and S.E.E.D. Fellow in the department of Education at the University of California, San Diego. My research focuses on recruitment, retention, resilience and student voice for marginalized populations in educational spaces. I have created, developed and supported student-driven, culturally-relevant curriculum and programs for various universities, high schools districts, schools and non-profits across California, Washington and Washington D.C. Currently, my doctoral research supports UC San Diego and San Diego Unified [School District] in the development and implementation of a district-wide ethnic studies curriculum. Additionally, I started a non-profit (@theconsciouskid on Instagram) with my wife discussing the role of race within children's literature and educational experiences; our social media profile currently has boasted over 100,000 followers. This non-profit also conducts research and provides professional development for teachers, parents, and students. One example being a paper we published about the racism within Dr. Seuss' children's books, this paper received over 30,000 downloads in three weeks and was covered by various media sources including NPR, Time magazine, and CNN. I have presented my research from both my doctoral program and my non-profit at conferences including Stanford's Race Inequality Language (RILE) conference and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference.
What advice do you have for a prospective student to your program?
My advice would be to have an open mind and not to take for granted the support systems available in SCAE. SCAE is a unique space unlike any other, and very few times will you have everyone within a program on the same page about what social justice looks like in education in supporting student experiences. Additionally, the access to courses, discussing concepts such as CRT, is actually not very common in many master's program within education. It was this foundation that I continue to draw on, that help to set the stage for my both non-profit and my Ph.D. work.
What was your favorite/most memorable part of being a graduate student at CSULB?
My favorite part was being able to learn from incredible women and scholar[s] of color on a daily basis - i.e. Dr. Pérez -Huber. I had never seen or experienced such racial diversity within the leadership of a master's program and in higher education. The experiences these teachers were able to bring into [the] classroom, resonated within the deepest parts of myself and could not be taught in any training or teacher education program. It was watching them that inspired me to not only want to be a teacher and researcher in higher education, but to also know that it possible for someone with a brown face to be able to make it to such a position. I am eternally in their debt and will forever be grateful.
Planning to apply to the Social & Cultural Analysis of Education master's program?
- The online university application on Cal State Apply is due Monday, June 1
- The program application packet is due Monday, June 1 via email to the Graduate Studies Office at email@example.com.
- Please note the Letter of Recommendation forms and narrative letters should also be submitted directly by your recommenders via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.